A slow, centralised and local internet

The UK Government remains consistent in its commitment to roll out “superfast” broadband across the country. But what does superfast broadband mean and will having superfast broadband in the UK really give the increased in capacity and access to global content that it should?

A July report from Ofcom on internet speeds and research presented at the Annenberg/Oxford Media Policy Summer Institute paint a surprising picture of what speed consumers really get and the other limits to online capacity and access. It turns out that the network we rely on is often much slower than advertised and extremely centralised, despite the common mantra of a global and widespread infrastructure.

Ofcom’s data shows that the average UK broadband speed increased by 10 per cent from November 2010 (6.2Mbit/s) to May 2011 (6.8Mbit/s), but, at the same time, the gap between actual speeds and advertised (‘up to’) speeds also increased. While millions of Britons in May 2011 were being sold an average advertised speed of 15Mbit/s, they were actually surfing the internet at less than half that speed.

Though the report shows that superfast broadband services are now available to more than half of UK households, over 75 per cent of UK residential broadband connections are still delivered by copper ADSL telephone lines…

Read the entire entry on the LSE Media Policy Blog

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